Weekly Time Waster: Radical Fishing

Fishing is considered one of those relaxing pastimes, not quite a sport (to most of us anyway) but a fine way to spend a day without much to show for it besides a little sunburn and the possible trophy. Then there are those who think fishing is dreadfully boring. And then there are those that think it's a crime against fish. Well, Radical Fishing combines the relaxed dream of the first group, amps up the excitement to appease the second, and goes out of its way to offend the third.

You play a pretty nondescript character named Billy, who "fishes like a man." Cast your line, try to get your hook as deep in the water as you can, and when you're out of line or hit a fish, you start reeling back up, grabbing as many fish as possible. Once you reach the surface, the fish go flying in the air, where you must shoot them into bits of bloody chum in order to sell the meat for market. As you progress, you can use your earnings to buy new implements and attire (not so nondescript anymore, Billy), including fishing staples like a longer line and a weight, but also a chainsaw, an uzi, a toaster (for submarine electrocutions), and more. You can even buy an encyclopedia to keep track of all the fish you've seen as you plunge deeper into the ocean.

The game is simple, and the format is pretty common among flash games (repetitive play with new items), but the division of the game into its three parts -- the calm, relaxing, fish-avoiding descent; the frenzy to collect on the way back up; and the shoot-out -- provide a nice mixture of play. The MS-Paint wonderland of the visuals keeps the game cartoony and light-hearted, and the cheesy 8-bit soundtrack provides a soothing contrast to the insanity of the game. Now that the flounder run is waning in Galveston Bay, we've been looking for this kind of "radical" alternative.

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